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Teaching Noon
Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa


I got out at noon on Thursday to the lake. Tuesday it was raining and there was lightening around. Waving a graphite rod in the air with lead in my tail is not a smart thing to do.

Got to the lake and saw that there were five folks on the one jetty. That is too crowded or me so I went to the rip-rap along the road. That way I would not have to worry about hitting anyone on the back cast. I could see that the crappie were in. I had tied on a streamer nymph and a perch-a-bou (both in Ricks favorite crappie flies in the Panfish Archives). If they did not work then I could always change them. You always have to make a decision on which flies to start with.

I cast down the shore about five feet and let the fly drop. It had not gone far when the line stated to move to the side. I sat the hook and had a crappie on the line. It was about 8" long which is normal for this lake as there are no shad or other baitfish for them to eat. A quick flip of the hook and the fish was off. I cast down in the same area and had another fish hit the fly. This was beginning to look promising. Two fish on two casts.

This was a carbon copy of the first fish. I cast several more times to the same area and had fish hit almost every cast. I changed to the perch-a-bou and cast to the same area. I got a fish on about two out of three casts. I cast to the other way on the shore and repeated the same thing. Almost a fish a cast on either fly.

I did find that if they did not hit the fly on the drop then a slow long pull of the line with a glide after that was the ticket. The water was clear enough that I could see many of the fish hit. I did find that I needed to wait a second, before setting the hook or I would pull it out of the fish's mouth.

After catching several fish the action slowed down, so I moved about twenty feet up the shoreline and started casting again. Again it was almost a fish a cast. Great fun to watch the fish come up and hit the fly. After the fish got spooked from the one fly I would pick up several more by using the other fly.

I did notice a lady coming down from the other jetty. She stayed back up on the road and asked me what I was using. I told her to come down and see, it was easier than trying to explain the flies. We talked for a few minutes and then she said that she had wanted to try fly fishing, but had never been around anyone who did it. I hit that invitation hard. I told her to take the other rod and gave a quick casting lesson. Everything I know in less than five minutes. After a few minutes she could get 20 to 30 feet of line out, without tangling it or wrapping herself with the fly. Time to have her cast toward fish.

We moved about twenty feet again and I had her cast along the shore. The fly had dropped just a little ways when a nice crappie hit the fly. She did manage to hook it and had a ball getting the fish in. She was so excited that she messed up her next cast. The line was twisted around the rod and some around her head. Being such a nice guy, I told her that she needed to unwrap it. Thought doing this would calm her down some and she could think about what she was supposed to do.

Her reply was, politely put, "Yes Daddy." She told me her Dad always made her clean up her own messes. In a minute she was ready to cast again. This time she was ready and made a decent cast. Another crappie hit the fly and she whooped. I knew she was hooked.

She did manage to catch another dozen fish before I had to leave. I did tell her a few places she could get fly rods already set up. I think she is going to do this and I may be tying some flies for her to use.

In any case I had to return to work, the curse of not being retired.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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